If you have applied for disability benefits because a medical condition has left you unable to work only to have your claim denied, you are not alone. Most disability claims – about 67 percent of them – are denied at the initial review. There is an even higher percentage of claims that are denied during the request for reconsideration. Finally, you will have the opportunity to request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Taking a Witness
When you appear before the judge at the hearing, you have better odds of being approved for disability benefits. However, many people don’t want to attend the hearing alone, and, often having someone with you could help your claim. You may want to take a witness with you, which may help your claim be approved. However, for a witness to be effective it must be someone who knows your limitations and restrictions.
If you have a caregiver or a former employer attend the hearing and testify as a witness that may be helpful. Either could testify as to how your restrictions or impairments affect your daily activities and your ability to work. If a claimant is a minor, has difficulty communicating, or loses consciousness in bipolar episodes or epilepsy, a witness can be very helpful.
You can have a representative appear at the hearing on your behalf or accompany you. This could be a friend or relative, a disability attorney, a social worker, or a disability advocate. This person may speak on your behalf at the hearing. If your medical condition keeps you from attending the hearing, they will appear for you and answer the questions that the judge may have regarding your condition and your claim.
Often, having a representative is very beneficial to your claim and can increase your chances of approval. The representative will help you gather the supporting evidence and build a strong claim, showing that you are unable to work and earn a living and can help provide the necessary documentation to show the severity of your medical problems and how they affect you in your daily life as well as your abilities to work.
Taking Someone With You
If you suffer from anxiety or have mental health issues, taking someone along with you for support can be very helpful and might help you throughout your testimony. The judge will ask you questions, and your claim depends on your responses. You shouldn’t take along someone who will be disruptive or be a distraction, such as a child. Also, if you have a disability attorney or a disability advocate representing you, they will be able to prepare you for your hearing.
If you have reached the hearing level, your chances of getting your claim approved are at their highest. There is the highest approval rate at the hearing level. The key to a successful hearing is making sure the judge has all your medical records and documentation to review before the hearing and you being ready to accurately respond to the questions.